For those women (mostly women) who do a family's cooking, one perk to being the First Lady of the United States is that you have a staff who worries about what your family eats.
Yet the current First Lady is encouraging us to cook more from home.
"The question is 'How do we help families start cooking again, even if it's just one or two meals a week?'"
Michelle Obama has been attacked for political reasons for trying to get people to move around and exercise more, to eat better. Now the First Lady wants us to cook more.
Mrs. Obama talked about having supermarkets distribute recipes and offer cooking demonstrations and getting chefs to offer affordable cooking classes in their restaurants.
Her advice, when taken objectively, is rather conservative (small c). Old-fashioned. Old school.
"Cooking takes too much time."
You can use slow cookers, cook on Sundays, do a homemade taco bar. If you get really stuck, make a salad while waiting for the food to be delivered or the TV dinner to be cooked.
If your kids are old enough to help, have them do what they can. Teach them skills to use in the future and make them a part of dinner. A family dinner involves help from the family. And speaking as a man, get the husband involved. Two is better than one in making dinner.
"They make cooking look so easy on the Food Network. Cooking is hard for me and I don't know what I'm doing."
You can watch the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, but they are ultimately entertainment. On TV, cooking looks easy because they've been doing so a long time and work in professional kitchens.
Borrow techniques, spice ideas, basic recipes from these cooking hosts. And adapt them for what you know how to cook and what you desire to have on your dinner table.
You are the star cook at your table. There are no cameras around. Perfection is not the goal; good food and love at the table are the goals.
"Ordering out is easier. I've had a hard day at work."
Single people have strategies when they come home tired and dinner needs to be prepared. Working mothers and fathers should have strategies. Some nights are omelette nights. You can cook a healthy omelette with vegetables in less time than getting a pizza delivered. If you have vegetables and fruit that has been prepared when you had more energy, the "cereal and milk" strategy can be appropriate.
This can be a life skill to teach your kids; some days are "cereal and milk" days.
"I'm an amateur. Why not let professionals cook for me."
Dish for dish, home cooked meals should be healthier than restaurant meals. You know what goes into the food, you're not using extra cream and butter, you control the salt intake, and you can control ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup.
The First Lady talked about schools developing the "home economics class of the future" to give students basic cooking skills.
This distracted the conversation to "home ec" of the past, to a time where young girls (and rarely boys) learned how to sew and cook.
Kids in the 21st century who are learning about food and cooking and growing their own vegetables are learning boy-girl side-by-side. They aren't learning how to make chicken pot pies and cakes like the images from the home ec classes of years gone by.
The First Lady was using a relic term of the past: the "home economics class of the future" will not be called "home ec" because the skills learned will be different, more relevant to a young generation so they have some idea where their food comes from.
Home ec classes weren't growing their own herbs or learning new vegetables. Don't think "home ec" but rather "food education."